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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The sport of boxing distances itself from a figure sought by the United States federal government

Several boxing promoters and fighters have spoken out against Daniel Kinahan, whom the Treasury Department has accused of being the boss of a violent narcotics organisation.

Many fighters, promoters, and managers are hurrying to disassociate themselves from Daniel Kinahan, the alleged leader of an Irish narcotics gang, after the United States government imposed sanctions on him a week ago.

Announcing the closure of its activities on Wednesday, MTK Global, an English management organisation that represents some of the world’s most prominent boxers, said that it was doing so because others in the sport were refusing to do business with the company, which Kinahan started in 2012.

MTK Global has said on several occasions that it severed all ties with Kinahan in the year 2017. It was not one of the companies that were sanctioned by the Treasury Department the week before last.

We have made the tough choice to discontinue operations at the end of this month since prominent promoters have now notified us that they want to terminate all connections with MTK and that they will no longer deal with our fighters, according to a statement released by the business. Tyson Fury and Billy Joe Saunders were among the title boxers represented by MTK Global.

The corporation went on to say that it had been subjected to “extraordinary levels of unjust scrutiny and criticism” as a result of its ties to Kinahan. Bob Yalen, the company’s chief executive officer, resigned the day before the closure, citing “extreme” pressure over the last several weeks.

In a statement released last week, the Treasury Department issued financial penalties on Kinahan and a number of associated individuals and companies. ‘The Kinahan Organized Crime Group smuggles lethal drugs, including cocaine, into Europe,’ according to a senior Treasury official in a statement. “It poses a menace to the whole licit economy because of its participation in international money laundering,” the official said.

The Kinahan cartel, according to the Treasury Department, is a “murderous organisation” that has been connected to killings throughout Europe, and it has been likened to the Camorra in Italy, the Yakuza in Japan, and the Los Zetas in Mexico. The Department of Justice, in collaboration with law enforcement authorities in Ireland and around Europe, announced a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Kinahan, his father, and his younger brother.

Meanwhile, Kinahan was assimilating himself into the combat sports world during the previous decade, despite the fact that law enforcement sources claim he was running a sophisticated narcotics gang. He represented and counselled various sportsmen, both officially and informally, and he was engaged in discussions with other promoters and media firms for some of the most important boxing contests in history.

Kinahan is most closely identified with Tyson Fury, the heavyweight champion who is handled by MTK Global, and his company MTK Global. Fury has been spotted with Kinahan on multiple occasions, and he has shown his admiration for her.

The founder of the United States-based boxing promoter Top Rank, Bob Arum, said that Top Rank paid Kinahan more than $4 million in consultation fees for four Fury bouts that Top Rank staged between 2019 and 2021, demonstrating Kinahan’s participation in boxing’s top echelons.

Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury will battle it out at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday night in a highly anticipated heavyweight match. However, the build-up to the fight has been overshadowed by inquiries regarding Fury’s connection with Kinahan, which he has skirted on several occasions during the process.

“I’m not here to debate politics, war, or religion with you, and I’m not here to see if you’re trying to get me to say anything,” Fury told a Sky News interviewer on Tuesday. “I’m not concerned with the problems of others. It’s none of my business, so don’t bother. To put it simply, I’m a boxer with a fight on my mind, and that’s enough stated.”

After winning a bout last weekend, Mounir Lazzez, a mixed martial arts fighter signed by MTK Global, delivered an uninvited message to Kinahan through social media, which was received with gratitude. When Lazzez was questioned about it thereafter, he referred to Kinahan as “a buddy and advisor,” before claiming to be uninformed of the penalties levied on Kinahan.

Other combat sports stars have attempted to disassociate themselves from Kinahan’s activities.

In addition to being previously handled by MTK Global, Michael Conlan, an Irish featherweight, was identified as a client on the website of Hoopoe Sports, a Dubai-based organisation that was included in the penalties. According to a statement from Conlan, he has been represented by his brother, Jamie, for the last year and has never heard of Hoopoe.

Mauricio Sulaimán, the president of the World Boxing Council sanctioning body, was seen with Kinahan earlier this year while in Dubai for a promotional event. However, once the fines were imposed, Sulaimán said that he had “at no point” had any contact with Kinahan and described his meeting with him as a “innocent error caused by complete ignorance of the matter.”

Top Rank, according to Arum, will no longer conduct business with Kinahan in the future. Eddie Hearn, the chairman of the boxing promoter Matchroom Sport, also said that his organisation would abide by all applicable laws and would have no affiliation with Kinahan’s activities. Probellum, a promoter who has signed a number of MTK fighters and who has been connected to Kinahan by a Pakistani lawmaker, has denied any such connections and has also said that it would not do business with Kinahan.

Dan O'Brien
Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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